- Daily Zen
The premise of the world’s first plastic-fishing company, Plastic Whale, is sublime. First, remove plastic from the world’s waterways. Second, transform the plastic and other debris collected into a material to make a boat. Third, use the new boat to fish out more plastic bottles.
This year, 14 Netherlands-based companies purchased Plastic Whale’s first collection of Circular Furniture, where each piece is nature-inspired. The set includes a 3-foot-long boardroom table emulating a whale skeleton, eight chairs inspired by its tail and lamps imitating its barnacles. There’s also an acoustic wall panel with waves modeled after the pleats on a whale’s throat. Each piece of furniture is made from wood and waste material fished from the city’s canals.
This collection is the result of a joint effort between LAMA Concept and Vepa Project Furniture, and is a work of genius! More than 1,000 plastic bottles were used to create the table, over 60-80 bottles for the chairs, and 20 for the lamps, all of which were fished out of Amsterdam’s waterways by hundreds of thousands of volunteers.
Founder Marius Smit says that since its launch in 2011, the company has fished more than 50,000 plastic bottles and more than 10,000 kilos of other debris from the canals of Amsterdam. He founded the company after seeing reports on the magnitude of the world’s plastic waste problem.
The organization’s motto is “stop talking, start doing,” which inspires individuals to take ‘fishing trips’ through the city’s canals. Visits cruise the canals on a fleet of boats, all made from plastic bottles, scooping up floating plastic waste!
Today, plastic-fishing has turned into a popular tourist activist in both Amsterdam and Rotterdam, attracting hundreds of thousands of visits from all over the globe. In June 2018 alone, around 6,300 people fished, while there has been a 70 percent spike in 2018 compared to 2017.
The next step for Plastic Whale is designing furniture for business, in particular, the Dutch companies that have been longtime fans of its fishing mission. Right now, the iconic Circular Furniture table and chair set is available for 19,800 euros and isn’t destined for the average household.
The plastic-fishing company is hoping to change to change that soon by designing affordable furniture pieces made out of recycled and repurposed materials. Only 9 percent of the world’s 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste is being recycled.
Around 10 percent of the proceeds from the Plastic Whale Circular Furniture goes to the Plastic Whale Foundation, which is starting international initiatives to combat the plastic waste problem in countries like India where there is a huge amount of waste mismanagement.